Sunday, March 15, 2015

the price of reconciliation

1 Peter 2:1-10

So then, stop doing anything to hurt others. Don’t lie anymore, and stop trying to fool people. Don’t be jealous or say bad things about others.

Sounds simple right? Don’t say bad things about other people. It would be easy -- if I just put duct-tape over my mouth.

Now they are together and they smile.
Later they will talk behind each other's backs.
I find women are drawn to disparage other people. It is natural for us. We bond by talking about relationships. We share our feelings. We empathize and encourage each other. We work things in our hearts and minds by talking. We need to be honest and share about our relationships. We’re just being honest. Right?

Wrong. It’s sin. It is bad to say bad things about others, even if it’s true.

We are called to be living stones, with Christ as a cornerstone. God desires to use us to build a spiritual house. If our words break down relationships with one another, how’s that going to work out?

We are called to be priests, leading others who are far from God towards reconciling with Him. How’s that going to work out when we cannot even reconcile with each other?

Why do we find ourselves having conflicts with our husbands and then talking about that with our girl friend? When our teens disappoint us, why do we call our sister? When the boss irritates us, why do we complain to a co-worker? Is it because we want to resolve the conflict? Hardly. It’s because we want sympathy. We want someone to comfort us and tell us the other person is wrong and we are right. Or is it only me?

Peter tells us “you were saved from that way of living. You were bought, but not with things that ruin like gold or silver. You were bought with the precious blood of Christ’s death.” (1 Peter 1:18-19) Our reconciliation with others is also bought at a price. We pay it with humility and sacrifice. Maybe we need to forgive. Maybe we must muster the courage to confront the person who has hurt us. Whatever the price we have to pay, Jesus paid a higher price.

What do we do when we find ourselves with a friend who is talking badly about others?
  • We can say something positive 
  • We can change the subject
  • We can walk away
  • If it is a sister in Christ, we can gently correct and redirect her to the person with whom she needs to reconcile.
To indulge in the conversation and offer only sympathy and reassure them they are right may derail reconciliation and ruin relationships.  Besides, let's face it, what we say about others says more about us than them.

Beloved, it is easy to see this now as I sit alone at my keyboard. Remind me again when I am hurt, disappointed, or frustrated. Remind me You have paid the price for me. Give me the strength to turn away from sins of the tongue. I can’t do it myself obviously! I need Your help. When I am in conflict please give me the courage to talk to the right person and the humility to be kind. I will give You all the glory.

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